Advertisement

Interest in government jobs is spiking due to their stability and cushy benefits

Man going through immigration application at US immigration office with American flag.
Employer reviewing application at US immigration office.mediaphotos/Getty
  • TikTok videos detailing the benefits of government jobs and how to enter the field are blowing up.

  • Applications to government jobs more than doubled last year, according to Handshake.

  • People are interested in stable careers amid economic uncertainty and layoffs.

Brandon Tamayo considered leaving his current job for a role in the private sector on his way to work one morning.

He thinks about it often — and you can probably guess why.

"More money," Tomayo said. "My friends in the private sector told me 'You could double your pay.'"

Tamayo, 33, makes about $75,000 a year as a public transit compliance specialist in Illinois. He has a master's degree in public administration from Indiana State University.

He could likely make six figures in the private sector — and he remains intrigued by the option.

But he's chosen to work for the government because it offers practically unmatched stability and long-term benefits — and in this economy, that can make all the difference.

Tamayo, who posts TikToks about his career and gives advice to others looking to get government jobs, isn't the only one to feel this way.

In recent months, government jobs have been trending on TikTok, and government employees are using the platform to educate others about the requirements and steps needed to enter the industry.

The uptick in social media discussion reflects a growing interest in the field. Over the last 6 months, Google trends show that search terms like "how to get a government job" or "government job pay" have reached their highest peak in five years.

Universities and hiring platforms are noticing the same trend. Applications to federal employers have increased by 55% over the past year, according to hiring platform Handshake. Additionally, federal employers increased their job postings by 22% on the site.

Stability is a growing priority

Christine Cruzvergara, Handshake's chief education strategy officer, said that interest in government jobs doesn't usually increase at this level just because the economy hits a recession or a hiring lull.

"Typically when there's a lot of layoffs, more volatility, you usually see more people going to grad school," Cruzvergara said. "It's a little different because it's not like there are cuts happening across every industry, it's very concentrated."

Amid a long list of layoffs in previously high-growth industries, like tech, young employees are prioritizing stability more than ever. According to Handshake's report, 77% of the current graduating class ranked stability as the #1 factor they're searching for in a job.

Government jobs offer just that.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median years of tenure for public sector jobs in 2022 was 6.8 years, about 2.7 years higher than private sector jobs.

Raven Blanchard, a 30-year-old living in Virginia, works for a government contractor as a budget analyst. While she's bounced around in different government roles over the last 10 years of her career, she said she has never felt worried about having a job.

"I don't worry about economy fluctuation, I don't worry about layoffs," Blanchard said. "We're shielded from that."

Blanchard said that there have been roles she hasn't heard back from after applying, but the longest she's ever spent looking for a government job was two months and it was when she moved abroad to Germany.

Degrees aren't a must, but hard skills often are

Many government jobs rely on technical skills and experience, rather than degrees.

While many government roles may not require degrees, most jobs require certifications. The most common include CompTIA, ISC(2), and ISACA. Some roles also require clearances, which can take up to several months to get approved.

As the demand for tech continues, and President Joe Biden launches a large-scale hiring initiative for AI specialists, many are looking for ways to break into the business without paying for additional education.

Benefits that are hard to pass up

Government jobs are famous for cushy benefits.

The Federal Employee Retirement System (FERS) is one of the most talked about benefits for employees working in the government, although government contractors don't offer this. Government pensions offer retirees an annual income after they've stopped working.

While the amount depends on how many years an employee has worked and their age of retirement, full benefits include 1.1% times the number of years of federal service times the average of the highest three years of salary.

If employees are ever in crisis, the government also offers EAP, which is an assistance program that offers employees legal advice, financial advice, and other resources that vary on the state or federal level.

Government jobs also allow employees to travel domestically and abroad. Symoné Berry, a government tech contractor, worked abroad for about five years in Asia.

During her contract work abroad, she said all of her work-related expenses were paid, her salary was oftentimes untaxed due to agreements with other countries, and she received travel stipends dedicated to "rest and relaxation" pay.

Additionally, most government jobs provide tuition assistance to employees at a standard rate of $250 per credit, but some jobs will pay for the entire program.

Alexxus Harris, an IT specialist for the CDC, said that her education was free because her schools matched the amount the government provided her. Harris obtained two degrees through the program and is interested in getting her Ph.D. as well.

In addition to tuition assistance, the government also provides student loan forgiveness to government employees after 10 years of making payments. For Tamayo, this is the largest reason he stays in the public sector.

Between benefits like these, the potential for a more stable career, and a pension waiting for those who stick it out, it's not surprising that people are finding the idea of a government job attractive right now — even if it means sacrificing the higher take-home pay of the private sector.

For many, social media is their starting point as they consider making the jump.

If you scroll through the pages of more than 12,000 videos on TikTok with the hashtag "governmentjob," you'll see videos detailing the application process, job requirements, and the experiences of employees in the industry.

Do you work in a government job? We'd like to hear from you. Email the reporter from a non-work email at aaltchek@insider.com.

Read the original article on Business Insider